The DANES shock the judges


The crowd cheers as the second last team of the gymnasts bow and jump in excitement before leaving the round amphitheater stage. According to the judges’ smiles and the spectators’ cheer, the group is bound to win. They had made few mistakes, but who doesn’t. Their choreography was perfect, they had created pyramids , they had created towers , they had made spring somersaults, they had twisted and spun, all this with few mistakes. And the crowd could not have noticed them. Only a very keen judge would have seen their mistakes.

And then the proclaimer announces the final performers. They are a new group in the acrobatic gymnastics and they call themselves the Danes. The lights are directed towards the entrance of the stage. The proclaimer  says that the Danes are a group of three men and one woman, namely; Daniel, Andrew, Nelson and Elizabeth. The crowd goes wild, it seems that everyone is enticed with this kind of sport.

And now the Danes appear. At the front is a tall thin dog, a Great Dane type and it leads the group right to the centre of the stage. The cheering stops for one moment, the audience have noticed something confusing. The group has only two men and a woman. They stand at the centre and wave to the crowd before bowing and splitting up. The shocking thing is, the Great Dane type of a dog is bowing and waving along with the Danes. The crowd’s cheering comes back up.

The Danes are jogging in circles. The dog is in its hind legs and jogging with them . Their arms are up in the air as they seem to enjoy the available space on the stage. It seem like they are waiting for their music to blast through. The dog is so tall but so thin. It seems like an old dog as it struggles to close its mouth without success. Its tongue is all out and though it does not seem to be tired, its pants can be heard by the judges and those on the front rows. The crowd is cheering loudly although they are all confused on what an old dog is doing on the stage-  some think that those three acrobats are so much in love with their dog and that they like taking him with them. Others just mutter ignorantly, “he is just a dog’’.

Then the music comes up and all of a sudden, the group recollects at the centre of the stage. They seem to be saying a prayer, with their heads nodding to the beats of the music. The dog is the more reactive one to the tone. After a while, they split up. the dog is on one side, still standing on its hind legs, and the two men and the woman are on the opposite side. Their names are announces again, with the lights being focused on the owner of the mentioned name. The dog’s name is Daniel.

The Danes are looking at each other, their feet thumping the stage- ground along with the music. The man named Andrew takes a step forward, throws himself in the air and lands on his hands. He stands in that position for about ten seconds before slowly walking, with his hands, towards the dog. When he gets there, he places his feet on the shoulders of the dog, as Nelson does little slow somersaults towards them and stands like five feet away from the Daniel and Andrew. Then Andrew, who is still on his hands, raises his body up, with his feet still on the dog’s shoulders and finally places his hands on Nelson’s shoulders. Daniel, the dog, moves a little farther away and spreading its paws, holds Andrew by its toes. With his waist bent so that the belly is protruding upwards, Andrew seems strangely comfortable. The dog is smiling. It is enjoying this. Its hind legs moving back and forth with the beats of the music, just like Nelson is doing. With a speed of lightning, the woman does several somersaults up Nelson’s body and with no time, she is standing,on one leg, diagonally on Andrew’s protruding belly. It is like she was dangling, like she would fall any minute. Her arms are spread, probably for balance, or probably because she is proud she managed to do this. At that moment,  the music has stopped and when it resumes, they change their poses. Daniel mostly takes on the base.Elizabeth is always the top. The crowd has stopped cheering now.

The chief of the Judging Panel has been called. There is no rule that says human beings should use animals in acrobatics. There is no rule that says they shouldn’t either.

The Danes are doing stunts very perfectly that it doesn’t seem like there is an animal- a thin old dog for that matter. The judges have nothing to say. The Execution Component judges don’t have anything to deduct from the 10 points. The Danes are not making mistakes. The crowd was cheering a minute ago and now as the dog makes multiple spins in the air, lands on its back and supports others with its paws, the cheering has to stop. The Danes’ moves are daring, they are scary. The question remains, how will the judges rule?

And then it is over. The amphitheatre is dead quiet. The Danes have left the mouths of the spectators wide open with no voice coming out. They would have cheered and the “four acrobats” would have been proud, they would have jumped and waved and bowed amidst the loud cheer; they now couldn’t. However, the silence was louder than the cheer that would have boomed in the hall.

And who the winners would be is a question many spectators can’t find an answer to.